Sharan Elizabeth Reese was born on December 15, 1946 in Provo, Utah. She started out life three months early and tiny enough to fit in a shoe box. She moved soon after with her mother and siblings to Portland, Oregon. She grew up with her brothers, Howard and Michael and her sister, Karla. Being raised by a single mother taught her to be independent. Sharan started working in a restaurant when she was 13. She had a very hard work ethic that served her all her life. She graduated at age 17 from Jefferson High School and she and her Sister got an apartment. Sharan helped her raise her son, Daniel, while he was a baby. She was a young woman, working at an insurance company when she met a young Bill Hoffman. Her skirt zipper had ripped and she asked him if she could borrow his jacket to tie around her waist. You never know in life when God can use poor sewing skills to lead to the love of your life.
Bill and Sharan were married on March 28, 1970 and were married for 51 years. Their love was tested when, as newlyweds, they were hit head on by a drunk driver. Nothing cements a couple together like spending 3 hours in a crumpled Volkswagen bug while the jaws of life cut you out. Sharan sustained head injuries but Bill would spend two months in the hospital and return home in a body cast. Sharan spent her days working and evenings visiting Bill at the hospital or taking care of him when he returned home. She always got a little glimmer in her eye when she told the story of driving him around. She would open the tail gate of the hatch back, tip him in and slide him back. Even after 51 years, Sharan would look over at Bill with such love in her eyes.
Soon their lives became fuller and fuller. Their daughter, Lisa arrived in 1972 and Laura in 1975. She loved her girls. She helped in their classrooms, and Blue Bird troops and dressed up as a robot and came into their classrooms. She made great birthday parties and she always made their friends feel welcome. Sharan got a sweet smile when the girls played with their Dad, growing up without a Dad in her life made her value what a great Dad Bill was.
Sharan worked as a typesetter for This Week Magazine when the girls were younger and she worked as a Media Buyer for Fred Meyer for many years. She was a hard worker, but more than that she had a servants heart while doing it. She wasn’t doing it because she was asked and she wasn’t doing it to be thanked, she was doing it because it needed to be done and she was happy to help. She made several good friends during her working days, even starting a softball team with them and other friends.
As parenthood does, the days may have been slow but the years went fast and soon Sharan welcomed son-in-laws into her family who she loved like the sons she never had. Now Sharan loved her daughters but she was absolutely crazy for her grandsons. From Jake’s birth in 1996 she was smitten and following Matthew’s birth in 1998 she quit her job to stay home and take care of the boys while Lisa and Laura worked part time. There are certain choices in life people make that change the generations to come and that was one of them. When Dylan and Noah followed, the four boys spent the days with someone who truly loved them with all her heart. We won’t say she spoiled them, being well mannered and behaved was important to her, but she certainly was a lot more liberal with the sweets and screen time than she was with her girls. Sharan loved to play video games and she and her grandsons would enjoy that together. Not many people have a grandma who has what must be a world record for hours played on Plants vs. Zombies. She and Bill never missed a school play and would come watch sports and choir. Each day at lunch she would read them Bible stories and made God part of their daily lives like He was in hers.
Sharan was a woman of immense faith. She loved God. She loved to reach out to those who were down or hurting with a kind word or card in the mail. Her church provided postcards and each week she would write dozens of cards to the people who were sick, home bound or needed an extra smile. Sharan had a great sense of humor and was always so quick witted. She could cajole someone out of a down mood with a joke or entertain the room with a witty remark said with a beautiful smile.
Nine years ago Sharan suffered a stroke during a routine operation. Many would have raged at the change in circumstances and lack of mobility, but she never did. She was content in a way few would be. Some would say Bill took good care of Sharan, but I think it would be most accurate to say Bill did everything he could so that Sharan could live as full and independent as possible, always being conscientious of caring for her spirit and dignity. Though her speech was quite affected, her mind stayed sharp and she always enjoyed hearing about whoever was visiting and of course about the grandkids and all that was going on in their lives. Recently she motioned that their lives were growing and that was how it was supposed to be. Sharan may not have been able to verbalize as much in the last nine years, but she could spell in the air (and reading backwards in the air was a tricky skill for Bill, Lisa and Laura to pick up), but she was able to communicate much to her family. She would clearly tell her family, and her sister-in-law Lorraine, “Love you, huge” each time she saw them. Her faith in the Lord grew immensely during this time and you would hear her saying a little prayer quietly and consistently.
Sharan taught her family many things, to work hard and do it with a positive attitude, to have faith in the Lord, in good times and in tougher times. She taught them to love and honor their spouse. To be content and to put little value in material things. To laugh often and give the best hugs.
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